TOP COP IN HOT SEAT
By NALINEE SEELAL Thursday, January 9 2014
ONE DAY after he sat with the Prime Minister in a National Security Council meeting to deal with the rampant murders, which has seen 20 persons slain in the first seven days of this year, acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams has been summoned to a meeting today by the Police Service Commission (PSC).
Public opinion on the upsurge of murders and the resultant fear among the populace which the perceived inability of the Police Service to allay these fears, will be the main focus of today’s meeting at which Williams is expected to face a barrage of questions from commissioners.
The meeting with the top cop and PSC members is expected to take place at 11.30 am at PSC headquarters at the corner of Churchill Roosevelt Highway and Pasea Main Road, Tunapuna.
The final assessment of Williams’ performance as the leader of the Police Service is expected to take place at month’s end when PSC members meet specifically on the top cop’s work.
A source yesterday told Newsday, “that Commission is entitled to evaluate the manner in which the Acting Police Commissioner manages his human, physical and financial resources in the fight against crime.
So that will be a major issue especially given widespread public concern over crime. Apart from crime statistics, that Commission is providing an opportunity for the acting police commissioner to provide explanations as a matter of due process.”
The source said given the 20 murders committed in the first seven days of this year, Williams will really be under the gun to convince commission members at today’s meeting that there has been verifiable improvements under his leadership especially given his management capabilities.
Today’s meeting comes after head of the National Security Council (NSC), Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Tuesday said the time for making and giving excuses on rampant murders is over and she as NSC head will not accept such excuses, including from the Police Service.
Newsday understands the Acting Commissioner’s appointment comes to an end at the end of this month and sources revealed he may be given a third extension because of the inability of the DPA (Director of Personnel Administration) to contract a firm to advertise the post of Police Commissioner.
In a very brief conversation yesterday Williams confirmed that he did in fact have a meeting with the PSC but did not wish to comment further. Williams was first appointed to act on August 7, 2012, for six months replacing CoP Dwayne Gibbs, a Canadian national, who resigned before his contract expired. Williams was given two subsequent extensions.
Newsday understands at least two senior members of the Police Association as well as senior police officers have already expressed a desire to apply for the position of Police Commissioner when it is advertised.
Under the new system, the PSC will advertise and review applications and submit a shortlist of names to the Commission for consideration. The list will then be submitted to Parliament and a successful nominee appointed.
Recently, executives of the Police Social and Welfare Association (PSWA) made it clear it will not support another extension of Williams’ acting position because it feels the PSC has not carried out its mandate to ensure a full time Police Commissioner is appointed.